Researching Dutch realist genre painters and a look at interiors

I decided to look at and compare these two paintings below:

Davidsz de Heem’s ‘Still life with a glass and oysters’. dp147903

Above source:

Below: Attributed to Willem Claesz source:

RISDM 34-778

I think De Heem’s painting  depicts the simple pleasures of food and wine…it is portrayed in a full blown sensual way, glistening grapes, the shine of the rich oysters, the lemon ready to squeeze, the cloth a rich, green velvet. This meal is ready to eat, where as Claesz’s meal is half finished – the fruit half peeled and cut, the bread more than half eaten, just 2 olives left in the bowl. Does this perhaps show time passing? The wine glasses in both are beautifully described and catch the light of the room, reflecting the world outside. I think both artists are trying to make the viewer appreciate the simple and yet rich pleasures of life and the simple beauty of this.

A composition of objects like this go together so well for a still life, and is something I could use myself, a meal and drink laid out in a pleasing manner like this. Look for contrasts of materials. Light it well to create depth and shadows and interesting points of light.

This is not maybe relevant to this research section but I want to include a contemporary Dutch artist I found whilst researching: Tjalf Sparnaayn . This was just such an interesting documentary about contemporary Dutch artist, Tjalf Sparnaay, who paints megarealism in the style of the old Dutch masters. His work is incredible, such attention to detail. I normally do not like too much realism in painting ( I think well, why not just use a camera…?!) however Sparnaay takes this to a whole new level.

Sparnaay paints everyday modern objects (like fried eggs or squashed coke cans) as they are usually large works, this gives him the space to describe incredible detail, things you would not normally notice. portret_bmg_paintings_2013


I particularly like the ‘Fleamarket Milkmaid’, where he has copied Ver Meers work and given it a twist by adding a plastic wrapper as if it is a reproduction you would find in a market. What I take from Sparnaay is that he has found his own unique style by looking at the world around him in a different way. Indeed, it reminds me of  O’Keeffe, who painted small flowers in a large and detailed way to make you look again really closely at the things around you.

Looking at interiors

A contemporary painting of an iconographer’s studio on Mount Athos. By Aleksei Evstigeniev, 1997



What I have noticed mostly about paintings of interiors is that there is normally a window, or a door included to let in the light and create the light and dark areas that  add interest and depth to the work.  I particularly like this one by Evstigeniev, as it is of an artist’s studio. The floor tiles give depth and perspective and I love the light outside with the sunlight reflecting off the sea and you can just glimpse a chair inviting you to sit out on the balcony and leave your work for a moment’s break. The deep archways of both the door and window I imagine were tricky to get right, and I can compare this to my own home which has a few archways too… my home is also tiled so this could be useful when looking to employ perspective. The paintings and the furniture in the room are to the left side and do not dominate but add to the interest, and contrast with the impression of the vastness of sky and ocean outside.

Another artist’s studio – but time Picasso’s.  source:


A completely different style from the Evstigeniev, there are still similarities. Yes, it is an artist’s studio, indeed Picasso’s own at  ‘La Californie’, near Cannes. The artist’s work is shown in  progress and there is a window, arched also, to the outside world, with a balcony and some palm trees can be seen. There are other archways drawn within the room. I love the greys, greens and browns of this work, which is perhaps a link to Georges Braque. It has a Moroccan feel to it, with the Moroccan brazier to the left, and also the in the patterns of the furniture. I think it is very recognisable as a Picasso!  It is suggested on this website that the blank canvas in the centre is a reference to  ‘Gustave Courbet, The Artist’s Studio (1855)’.

Charles Essenhigh Corke was a Victorian visual artist born 1852. I think he painted quite a few interior scenes but I particularly like this one: 8ea5fd2c-8e6b-4138-a308-5a41bf3e6f35_570

‘Interior of Jacobean Long gallery’ source:

This artist has used the floor planks and use of the vanishing point to describe the long length of this room. Also the window at the far end draws the eye down. The bands of light coming through the windows form ever decreasing rings also adding to the illusion of length. It looks almost more like a tunnel than a room, as the ceiling extends down the side walls. The fireplace to the front is lit and there is a table to the right, suggesting someone has been there recently. I am not sure what the red cloth hanging from the table is, maybe someone has been sat there sewing. The colours are soft and muted, which gives a hazy feel The red of the cloth is echoed further down the hall by some curtains on the end window.







Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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